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Frank's Movie Log

My life at the movies.

  1. A still from Isle of Fury (1936)

    Isle of Fury 1936

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Frank McDonald. Starring Humphrey Bogart, Margaret Lindsay, Donald Woods, and E.E. Clive.

    Miscast island melodrama has Bogart as the mustachioed, pith helmet-wearing owner of a South Seas pearl harvesting operation. Conflict arises when the natives refuse to work, and shipwrecked stranger Donald Woods falls for Bogart’s wife. Bogart’s giant octopus fight had me laughing. The ridiculous, exposition-laden finale even more so.

  2. A still from X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

    X-Men Origins: Wolverine 2009

    D: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Gavin Hood. Starring Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Ryan Reynolds, and Danny Huston.

    Anemic prequel detailing Wolverine’s origin. Reeks of studio interference down to the awkward title. The nonsensical script feels like a Frankenstein amalgam of various drafts stitched together to meet a deadline. The plot-hole leaden result sacrifices gravitas for mass-market appeal, wasting the charismatic cast and stand-out photography.

    Watched on 30 Jan, 2021
  3. A still from Rio Bravo (1959)

    Rio Bravo 1959

    A+: 5 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Howard Hawks. Starring John Wayne, Dean Martin, Ricky Nelson, and Angie Dickinson.

    My favorite movie stars John Wayne as a Texas sheriff struggling to hold a powerful land baron’s no-good brother for murder. Continue reading...

  4. A still from Shivers (1975)

    Shivers 1975

    C-: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by David Cronenberg. Starring Paul Hampton, Joe Silver, Lynn Lowry, Allan Kolman, Susan Petrie, and Barbara Steele.

    A high-rise apartment’s residents fall prey to a malignant parasite, compelling them to orgiastic violence. Cronenberg mixes ‘50s sci-fi sensibilities with graphic body horror, resulting in a most uncomfortable watch. Continue reading...

  5. A still from Smart Money (1931)

    Smart Money 1931

    C+: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Alfred E. Green. Starring Edward G. Robinson, James Cagney, Evalyn Knapp, and Ralf Harolde.

    Little Caesar lite. Robinson plays a small-time gambler (instead of a gangster) who claws his way atop the big city game, only for a woman to prove his undoing. Cagney plays his longtime friend and heavy. I liked the gambling scenes, and Robinson and Cagney’s chemistry, but the lower narrative stakes render this less resonant than the pair’s more iconic films. Boris Karloff makes a forgettable appearance as a pimp in an early dice game.

  6. A still from The Seventh Continent (1989)

    The Seventh Continent 1989

    A-: 5 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Michael Haneke. Starring Birgit Doll, Dieter Berner, Leni Tanzer, and Udo Samel.

    Michael Haneke’s devastating feature debut. Calm waters of menacing monotony surrender to a crushing tsunami of bleak emotion. As the third act unfolded, I struggled to watch. It’s not what Haneke shows, but what he doesn’t show. We fill the gaps with ourselves. The dread overwhelms. I went in cold, only aware that it concerned a middle-class couple. I suggest you do the same, although I’ve already said too much.

  7. A still from The Deadly Companions (1961)

    The Deadly Companions 1961

    C-: 3 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Sam Peckinpah. Starring Maureen O'Hara, Brian Keith, Steve Cochran, and Chill Wills.

    Sam Peckinpah’s feature debut. Brian Keith plays a former Union soldier escorting dance-hall singer Maureen O’Hara through Apache country. Peckinpah had neither script nor edit control, rendering this a mediocre work-for-hire effort. Not a good film, but passable thanks to Keith and the strong supporting cast.

  8. A still from Velvet Buzzsaw (2019)

    Velvet Buzzsaw 2019

    D+: 2 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Dan Gilroy. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Zawe Ashton, and Tom Sturridge.

    The creatives behind Nightcrawler reunite for an anemic mix of satire and horror set in the contemporary art world. Jake Gyllenhaal plays an influential critic jockeying to exploit a batch of cursed artwork. Continue reading...

    Watched on 24 Jan, 2021
  9. A still from X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

    X-Men: The Last Stand 2006

    F: 1 star (out of 5)

    Directed by Brett Ratner. Starring Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, and Famke Janssen.

    Scientists discover a serum capable of transforming mutants into humans, prompting Magneto to gather a goth mutant army and lay siege to the scientists’ Alcatraz laboratory. Wolverine, Storm, and assorted other under-written X-Men stand in his way. Oh, and Jean Grey’s back as an unstoppable force capable of disintegrating any character with an unfavorable contract. Continue reading...

    Watched on 23 Jan, 2021
  10. A still from The Bird with the Crystal Plumage (1970)

    The Bird with the Crystal Plumage 1970

    B-: 4 stars (out of 5)

    Directed by Dario Argento. Starring Tony Musante, Suzy Kendall, Enrico Maria Salerno, and Eva Renzi.

    Dario Argento’s directorial debut. Tony Musante plays Sam, an American writer living in Rome. Walking the streets one night, he glances inside an art gallery and spies a black-clad assailant attacking a woman with a knife. Unable to gain entry, Sam watches the attacker escape as the woman lies bleeding on the floor. The police arrive in time to save the woman, but visions of the incident haunt Sam, driving him to investigate the attack. Soon, the killer’s targeting him and his live-in girlfriend, played by Suzy Kendall. Continue reading...


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